Walter Cohen, Former Drexel College of Medicine Trustee and Medical College Chancellor

D. Walter Cohen

Below is a message from Drexel President John Fry:

It is with great sadness that I write to let you know that D. Walter Cohen, former Drexel College of Medicine trustee and Medical College chancellor, died Friday, June 29, at age 91. Walter was a remarkable leader and a major force in the many circles in which he moved — pioneering dental medicine, medical education, Jewish life, the arts, philanthropy and more.

He was respected and revered. At the same time, Walter was deeply admired. And that is not something said of every person who achieves success at his level. For us in the Drexel community, he was one of the most beloved members because he was loyal, dedicated, caring, generous, and perhaps the nicest guy you would ever want to meet.

D. Walter Cohen, The Drexel InterView (Season 11)
D. Walter Cohen meets a 19th-century celebrity dentist who later leads him to Monet.

Walter first came to Drexel some 20 years ago when the University took over management of a troubled medical school where Walter had emeritus status. Many were skeptical, but Walter was squarely behind Drexel from the outset. And his faith helped bring many others along. We are so fortunate to have had the benefit of him as a teacher, advisor, mentor, and inspiration to generations of students and faculty.  In addition to serving as chancellor, Walter served as a trustee of the College of Medicine from 2008 to 2014.

But Walter's interests at Drexel were not limited to academic medicine. Deeply concerned about the health of disadvantaged people locally and around the world, he was one of the strongest and earliest supporters of the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health, and the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Family 11th Street Family Health Services complex in North Philadelphia.

Another aspect of Drexel that Walter cared deeply about was Judaism and the Jewish students at our University. Walter was a staunch advocate for our Judaic Studies Program. And he was an early investor in the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life.

Walter made a huge difference in the lives of so many. We at Drexel University count ourselves incredibly blessed to have known and benefited from his counsel.

Walter is survived by three children, Jane E. Millner, Amy Cohen and Dr. Joanne Cohen Katz, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and his partner, Claire Reichlin. I will join Walter’s family and friends at the funeral service today, and will offer condolences on behalf of the Drexel community.


John Fry